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Shadow Minister headlines ENA event on green homes

15 February 2021


Chi Onwurah MP, Laura Sandys CBE, and industry experts Julian Wiley, Ben Godfrey, and Fraser Crichton joined ENA in a panel discussion, offering unique perspectives on flexible homes and how they can empower customers and energise decarbonisation.

Domestic flexibility is a huge and largely untapped resource in our decarbonisation efforts, but it is one where British businesses are already leading the way. In the coming months and years, more and more homes will get fully integrated with the smart technologies that enable domestic demand side response – heat-pumps and electric vehicles to name just two - effectively turning homes across the UK into mini power plants.

Last week we hosted a panel discussion with Chi Onwurah MP and Laura Sandys CBE alongside a panel of industry experts; Julian Wiley of Social Energy, Ben Godfrey of Western Power Distribution, and Fraser Crichton of Dundee City Council. Each panellist offered unique perspectives from the industry on the leading work being done to help the UK’s clean energy transition such as the roll out of EVs in Dundee, the domestic aggregation offered through Social Energy, and the support networks like Western Power Distribution can offer to help with uptake of these new products and services.

Chi Onwurah, MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central and Shadow Minister for Science, Research & Digital, opened the event by setting the policy scene with a clear emphasis that “building back greener is an important part of building back better”, and that the UK will “need to be targeting investment and support in a way which supports the climate emergency”. Ms. Onwurah, an electrical engineer herself, stressed that this was all about net zero, and the UK needs to move forward with flexibility to reach our emissions targets.

The panel discussion and audience Q&A with our panel of industry experts, chaired by Laura Sandys, tackled some of the big issues surrounding domestic flexibility and how the UK can build more greener homes to help reach net zero emissions. Our experts weighed in on topics such as standard contracts and agreements for flexibility services, policy and regulatory barriers and how to overcome them, and building market confidence – essential to more green homes popping up all over the country.

We also debuted our flexibility explainer animation – be more beaver! More and more homes and communities around the country are realising the benefits of connecting their smart home technology to the networks, earning additional revenue while helping the UK reach net zero emissions. Check out the animation to find out about the big changes that are happening as we transition to a smarter, more flexible energy grid with the help of some furry critters.

As our energy system goes continues through an unprecedented transformation, we’re hosting a series of events that showcases the projects and innovations that are making it happen, and to bring policy makers and industry closer together. As we look ahead to COP26 in Glasgow this year, keep an eye out for further events and insights as we discuss the exciting road to net zero.

Press contacts for journalists

Daniel Clelland

Communications Manager

Energy Networks Association

020 7706 5186

+44 (0) 7885 998360

ENA Press Office


Notes to editor

  • You can catch up on the full event, Flexible Homes: empowering customers and energising decarbonisation, on our YouTube channel

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.

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